D is for Druggie

My hometown was known for its fine buildings and artistic traditions. It prided itself on the the Pitville Pumproom, the racecourse and the Cheltenham Festival.

That’s not to say busloads of Americans came to Cheltenham or Cheltenham Spa as some insisted on calling it. Bath was on their tourist itinerary. Cheltenham was slightly off course and even those tourists who made it to Cheltenham never set foot in the Top Hat pub behind a council estate to the west of the city. The people in the mock half-timbered houses with the Audis would never venture down the ragged street that the Top Hat was on, past an industrial estate of walls topped with broken glass.

I had fallen in with an interesting crowd. My parents called it a bad crowd but I preferred the word interesting. The bar staff at the Top Hat turned a blind eye to underage drinking; in fact, it seemed to keep the place going. I started with cider – the rough edged curse of so many students in the West Country. I moved on to super strength lager, cigarettes, cannabis and then pills. I threw up and got into fights. My parents started to look at me as if I was a stranger. I told them it was a usual teenage thing.

But the night behind the garbage dump was different. Douggie said he had a treat for us. He posted look-outs on both ends of the alley, although it was hard to see how any right thinking and law abiding person would take a detour down the foul smelling alley by the dump. We had met guys who would sell us cannabis many times, but the character who showed up tonight was different. He wore a long trench that complemented his raw lantern face. As he approached I noticed the curious whiteness of his features. He was like an Albino or someone who had never seen the sun.

“This is Doctor K,” said Douggie. “He has the prescription to make you’re a day a lot better. Doctor K moved toward me. He was like no doctor I had ever met before. A foul and powerful smell of cigarettes  hit me, almost knocking me back. He stank of third rate pool halls.

“This will see you right,” he muttered, his eyes flitting back and forth like a nervous rodent’s. He pulled a bag with brown powder out of his coat and unrolled some cooking foil.
“Lighter,” he hissed.

Dave pulled a cigarette lighter out of his pocket.


Douggie handed together our ill-gotten gains from gas station thefts and pickpocketing.

The pale hand kept switching and Douggie pulled some coins from his pocket. “Notes only next time,” said the good doctor, taking me in with his thin yellow smile. He took the lighter and heated up the end of the foil containing the brown powder. Then he solemnly handed out funnels of rolled up paper for us to inhale. It looked curiously innocuous there in cooking foil. He was known as Doctor K but at the moment he struck me as being more like a priest as he handed out the wafers that were the body of a corrupted Christ. As we took turns to inhale the savior’s name was invoked a number of times. The Godforsaken alley became a pleasurable tunnel and my brain throbbed and twitched. It beat sex any day.

He was a dubious looking doctor but the medicine seemed to be doing something. In no time at all the doctor seemed to be rising as if on a celestial cloud and his arms were stretched high into the heavens. As if by a miracle the blemishes on his face and the dark clouds under his eyes had been airbrushed out.

“Welcome to the wonderful world of heroin boys,” the doctor proclaimed.

Chapters from my novella Transitions are entirely fictitious and no resemblance is intended to real people or events.


  1. That's, well, kinda scary. But your story is very well told. I want to know more. I can't imagine it was an easy journey for you. Heroin's hard to quit, right?

    Great to see you again, David. Thanks for visiting, and have a fun Easter.

  2. Thanks Robyn and have a fun Easter -it's not in any way autobiographical, though. My misspent youth was not nearly as risky..

  3. He stank of third rate pool halls. (I know that smell well) ...dodgy ground on the Hell Dust..

  4. considerably worse than second rate ones Jules - I know a place in Ilford that fits the bill

  5. Uh oh, I fear that Campbell is about to get himself in some real trouble. Wondering how far down the rabbit hole he'll go.

  6. Wow. Powerful. Definitely disturbing, but very well written :D

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary - Epics from A to Z
    MopDog - 26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary

  7. Excellent scene. I was pulled right into the setting and the exchange between characters.

  8. Thanks so much and for visiting..

  9. Cool! I really dug it! Looking forward to more from you.
    Shawn from Laughing at Life 2

  10. Doctor K was definitely not Doctor OK. You describe the scene really well with the unexpected analogy to the priest and communion.

    1. Thanks for stopping by again Susan - nope you wouldn't want him as your GP..

  11. An intriguing scene.

    Stopping by from A To Z :)


  12. Third rate pool halls? Aren't they the only kind?

  13. I agree, I think there are only third rate pool halls. :)

    Jean, back from the Grand Tour and visiting for the A-Z Challenge from Rantings and Ravings of an Insane Writer Number 209 on the A-Z List.

    Jean Schara
    Blackbirds First Flight (Quin)
    Blackbirds Second Flight (Glaring Upheaval and Fluffy Malone)

  14. Great job with setting the scene up front. It's a good contrast with the end.

    1. appreciate it Jean - hope you are surviving the challenge


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